Active Rest Day: How I Did
Amanda of Run Principessa took my #AmazingMe list one step further and did a VLOG of hers! Check it out and make your own list if you haven’t already – I want to eventually do a post that links up all of them! Make sure to email or tweet me with the link!
You may remember on Friday that I asked for your support and thoughts as I headed into a weekend of personal challenges. I’m not going to lie and say everything went swimmingly. On Friday night I met up with Jenny and Heather at It’s Only Natural (ION) in Middletown for what should have been an absolute blast of a vegan meal, but I just wasn’t all there. I felt stressed and dragged down by my negative thoughts. I’d had a longer day at work than I’d expected when I woke up that morning and was running late to meet the girls at the restaurant – a ton of little things just combined to create a perfect storm and I had a hard time being present. The food was AMAZING as per usual. The sweet potato fries made my heart sing. My friends were being wonderful and understanding, but I felt guilty as I drove him for not being able to sit back and enjoy. Guilt guilt guilt!
The next morning brought part of the challenges I’d discussed on Friday – Om Street Yoga from West Hartford Yoga. Jenny, Heather, and I met in West Hartford center and took ourselves and our mats over to LaSalle Ave, which had been closed down for the second year of this free outdoor 75 minute yoga class.
There was a great turnout! Mic problems only came up a couple of times during the practice, and a live percussion group was present playing relaxing music, complete with a gong.
The class actually ended up being more intense than I’d expected, which I enjoyed! My heart rate got up there during a ridiculously fast dancing warrior series, and my legs were on fire from all the chair poses we did. As I sunk into the last one, I literally whispered to Jenny, “Are you serious?!” I’d thought they were over!
My favorite moment came as the entire class was in a goddess pose, doing a series of powerful arm movements. We pushed our arms up to the sky, to the side, in front of us, and downward, each time shouting out “HUH!” Sounds cheesy but it felt great, like a release, and right as we completed the series the sun broke through the clouds. Our instructor declared we’d “brought out the sun” and the crowd broke into applause. In that moment, I felt united with every single person on LaSalle Ave!
During the class I was continuously impressed with Jenny’s yoga skills. She is actually a yoga teacher and considers the practice to have saved her life. Her movements were so very fluid and I am envious of her flexibility! I’d love to get my om on with her again soon 🙂
A part of my personal journey over the last couple of years has been working on being more mindful. Each time I do yoga, I have to admit that I am not living in the present. In fact, I rarely find that I am being present in any aspect of my life. This is something I’m trying to change and I was making an effort to be hyper-aware of mindfulness during the final portion of Om Street Yoga, savasana. My mind continued to wander forward to my plans with Heather and Jenny following yoga, forward to my tasting event later that evening, even back to the chair poses during the class and whether or not they were enough of a leg workout. I’d like to say that it was a zen, peaceful savasana, but instead I felt a bit panicked that it was SO damn hard for me to live in the moment. Why couldn’t I just enjoy?! Still, I followed the teacher’s instructions at the end to wish myself happiness, healthiness, and ease; it gave me some peace.
I suggested Hartford Baking Company nearby for our post-yoga coffee fix. I’d had their food before but had never had the chance to sample their pour-over coffee. My friend Matt was working and he recommended an Ethiopian blend from Stumptown Coffee Roasters in Brooklyn; it tasted excellent, possibly also because he did a good job making it! I liked the glass pitcher it was served in – my kind of pitcher!
Heather and I sipped our pour-over coffee black, while Jenny went with a large regular coffee with her beloved soy creamer!
I had a great time chatting with these ladies, and our sunny cozy table made this coffee trip extra special. But I still know I wasn’t 100% there. Negative thoughts associated with stressing over situations to come, an active rest day, whether or not I was disappointing my friends, and more crowded my mind. When I dropped my friends off at Jenny’s and headed out, I was feeling really upset and frustrated with myself.
I was cheered up relatively soon, however, when I ran into my best friend Lidia at Daybreak Coffee Roasters (I stopped by to get iced coffee – decaf, because I’d had enough caff for one day). I felt like it was fate because it also happened to be her birthday! I sat outside with her, her mom, and a family friend of theirs. We just caught up and I was having such a good time that I really did lose myself in our conversation and not think about the fact that I wouldn’t be putting in a gym trip that day.
It got more challenging though when I got home and finished doing my “blog errands” (photo editing and uploading). I had a couple of hours of free time before my next activity, and didn’t know what to do with myself. Free time?! I felt like a slacker for not taking advantage of it and hitting the gym. I almost felt angry with myself for publicly declaring an active rest day to all of you guys. I thought to myself, well I could save this rest day for a day I’m literally too busy to work out. Why should I waste today, a day I have so much time for the gym?! A lot of the reason I didn’t go was because I didn’t want to disappoint those who had left me such supportive comments on my post, Facebook, Twitter, and more.
I consciously attempted to pull my mind to the positives of the situation, and also to the fact that I needed to do this challenge for ME. I had time to put away my laundry while listening to NPR, something I really enjoy doing. I finally got a chance to get iTunes set up on my laptop and attempted to load all my music onto my iPhone (something I gave up on halfway through, but oh well). I got to zen out on the back porch while doing my blog errands and eat baby carrots with Yummy Hummy curry and lemon cilantro hummuses (humm-i?)
In the end, I know that I did a workout on Saturday. I took a 75-minute yoga class that worked my body, stretched my tired muscles, and quieted my mind (even if only a bit). I had a chance to unwind in the middle of the afternoon before headed to my CT Bloggers event that evening, which probably ended up helping me handle that event well in the end (more on that later). And the next morning when I went to the gym for 45 minutes of spinning and an arm workout, I had a ton of energy and kicked some ass. So I did it. I took an active rest day and challenged myself. I’m not extremely happy with how I handled the entire situation, but I handled it and am a work in progress. I’ll get there. I know it!
How do you handle taking rest days?
Have you ever done outdoor yoga?
How do you keep yourself in the moment and present?